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Thread: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

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    phalcon51's Avatar
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    Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    Well, it's been about 4 weeks since I had my EcoStar installed and it's still getting air in the filter basket.

    If I run it at high speed, about 3200 rpm for 5 minutes or so, it will purge all the air. When I run it at the speeds I normally use, 2200 rpm for running the Pool Cleaner for a couple of hours and 1500 rpm for the rest of the day, the air pocket re-accumulates slowly and eventually empties the basket down to just below the top of the intake port. I let it go for a few day last week and it dropped to about halfway down the intake port. I never have any air bubbles going back into the pool and I only get air in the top of the filter when I purge the pump of air. At the slower speeds (1500 and 2200 rpm) there's not enough turbulence in the filter basket to draw the air into the pump itself so the air just collects in the strainer basket area.

    I usually purge it every morning so it doesn't get too low by the end of the day, but I'm concerned that if we left for a weekend or longer that the pump might run dry, with the consequent problems that would bring, including burning out the pump seals. I'm not sure it does, but if the pump has a circuit that detects a loss of prime and shuts it down, then we'd have no circulation for an extended amount of time if we're on vacation or something.

    I had it installed by Leslie's as free installation was included in the purchase in a sale they had at the time, and I watched the entire procedure. The tech did a good job cementing all the joints, using purple primer and blue PVC cement on all joints and I couldn't detect any signs of air or water leaks at any of the joints. Just to be sure, I brushed on an extra coating of blue PVC cement at each joint so that there was a small solid fillet all the way around the joint, as there were a couple of small areas where the glue was not extruded out of the original joint. I let it all dry for a couple of hours before I turned it back on. Unfortunately, nothing changed.

    I then tried purging the pump and then setting the 3-way Jandy valve to draw only from the skimmer/main drain all day, and then the next day set it to draw only from the vacuum port all day. In both cases the air still re-accumulated within a couple of hours.

    I had previously taken off the basket lid, removed the o-ring, cleaned and re-lubed it with silicon grease, made sure the mating surface on top of the pump basket was flat and clean and reassembled it. I also checked to make sure the intake and outflow unions were tight. No change, it still collects air. I'm going to disconnect the pump unions today to double check the union seals and make sure there's no problem there.

    Yesterday, I had the Leslie's tech come back out to check the pump. He basically visually inspected all the joints and sealing surfaces, listened for any hissing or air leaks when the pump was shut down (didn't find any) and even backwashed the filter to make sure there was not any undue restriction to flow. Everything checked out OK. According to him, he says that some of the other techs have found the same problem with other EcoStar installs, and more or less said "a lot of them do it, that's just how they are." I wasn't too happy with that response, to say the least. He didn't have any answer to my question of where the air is coming from if all the joints are good. (Btw, all the pool plumbing is new as of 6 mos. ago and I didn't have any problem with my previous pump, a Pentair SuperFlo)

    So anyhow, it looks like my next step is to contact Hayward and see if I can get an area rep out to look at the pump and try to get this taken care of.

    I'm wondering if anyone else has an EcoStar installed and whether they've encountered this problem or if anyone can suggest anything else that I can check. I'd like to be able to perform a pressure test on the system from the skimmer to the outflow of the pump, but I don't have anything to do that with. Is there any company that can do this, and is it very expensive?

    Thanks for any help you can provide,

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    I suspect a very slow air leak in the suction side plumbing. It is certainly worth doing a check with a garden hose, run water slowly on each plumbing joint while running the pump at a lower speed. If the air bubble starts to go away you have found your air leak.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    phalcon51's Avatar
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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    Thanks Jason. I tried that a couple of weeks ago. I taped the hose at each joint in turn and let it run for several hours at each. The air still gets in and no decrease in the size of the air pocket.

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    The drain plugs and lid gasket are the two areas where it is most common to have leaks so lube those up really good with some pool lube. Given the conditions, I would guess the pump lid because it tends not to seal as well with lower suction (RPM). On high speed, the air is more easily removed and if it is a slow leaks that may be why you don't see it. But the bottom line is that it is leaking air from somewhere otherwise you wouldn't have that much of an air pocket.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    I put a real light coating of grease on the lid o-ring, but I haven't lubed the drain plug o-rings yet. I just got back so I'll do that now. Would a thin coat be better or a good slathering, particularly on the lid o-ring?

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    If you use too much, it will just squeeze out but not enough and it will leak air so I would error on too much.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    Okay, I just finished with the pump. I disconnected both the intake and outflow unions and inspected the seals and the sealing surfaces. All looked good. They use a double-lip rubber seal at the union sealing against a wide, flat mating surface.



    I cleaned everything off well and inspected everything well. No cuts, tears or deformities in the seals and both mating surfaces were very smooth and flat.



    The seals had both been installed dry so I applied a liberal coating of pool lube to both sides of the seal and the mating surfaces. I also removed the two drain plugs, cleaned them off and applied a coating of lube to them, too. I aligned the pump and reassembled everything and snugged up the unions good and tight and........................
    it still collects air under the lid.

    This picture was taken just a few minutes after I had purged all the air out of the filter basket and you can see it's already collecting bubbles under the lid. If you look carefully you can see bubbles clinging to the holes in the filter basket on the intake side only and the bottom. These bubbles eventually break free and collect at the top. After about 15 min of running at 1500 rpm there was about a 3"-4" bubble under the clear lid.



    I'm not sure what my next step is. I'm assuming my lines from the pool to the pump are good as they're only 6 mos. old and I didn't have this problem with the previous pump. Also, I've tried isolating the skimmer/main drain pipe and the vacuum port pipe with the Jandy valve and I still get air. It doesn't seem likely that I've got leaks in both circuits. The only thing I haven't actually ruled out is the Jandy valve itself. There are no obvious leaks and I can't hear any air leaks immediately after turning the pump off. The only possible places it could leak that I can see would be the shaft seal or the top cover gasket. The valve was brand new when the pump went in. Has anyone ever come across a leaky valve when new?

    Any other suggestions? I'm all ears!
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    If the bubble gets no larger than what you are describing, I doubt it will cause any harm.

    That said, you clearly have a very small air leak on the suction side of your system. There are many, many places that could be happening and, if you want to solve it, you will have to systematically work down the suction side until you find it. Here's the most common ones I think I have seen on the forum. Others may list some better ideas.

    1. Strainer basket lid....#1 by far
    2. loose fitting drain plug in strainer basket (pump) body
    3. any valve
    4. any union
    5. poorly made PVC glue connections
    6. air being sucked in from skimmer because water level in pool is too low. (I think this is extrememly remote in your case but just wanted to mention it)

    Again, others may post some more possibilities. You'll just need to keep doing detective work until you find it.

    The union at the intake to my pump has a tiny, tiny air leak that actually comes and goes. I pretend it's not there and feel much better.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    The tiny bubbles seem to be collecting inside the basket and could be just outgassing of dissolved air. That can occur under a slight suction and as Dave pointed out, a small amount of air in the pump basket is not a problem. A leak up stream would would have air entering via the inlet. How much air do you get over the pump run time?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    I get enough air in one day to empty the basket by at least a third. If I let it run a couple of days without purging the air it will empty about half way to where almost half of the intake port is exposed. I think I've ruled out #'s 1,2,4,5 & 6 on your list. Not sure how to test the Jandy valve. It was installed new at the time the pump was installed, about 1 month ago. There are no obvious air or water leaks at the valve, and I can only think of two places where it could leak, the shaft seal and the top cover gasket. I suppose I could try running water from the hose over the top of the valve, but I don't know if I could get complete enough coverage to cover any air leak for an extended period of time, although I guess I could just test one portion of it at a time. I'll give that a try this week.

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    The shaft seal is on the pressure side of the pump so it would leak water out and not air in.

    The leak could be in a valve so you can take them apart and lube the o-ring in the cover which may help.

    Also, when you tighten the pump lid, can you turn it all the way to the where lid has hard stops?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    By the shaft seal, I meant the handle shaft on the Jandy valve where it enters the top cover of the valve. I don't know if it's serviceable or not, but I'll try testing it first by running the hose over it for a couple of hours with the pump running and see if it draws in any water, then I'll do the same with the Jandy valve top cover gasket.



    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    You can also try shaving cream, you can easily see where it is getting sucked in.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    You can also try shaving cream, you can easily see where it is getting sucked in.
    Interesting - never heard of that one! Do you just dispense a gob of aerosol shaving cream around the joint? I use a gel type shaving cream - will that work as well or should I use something like Gillette Foamy that comes out already foamed up? I think I'm dealing with a pretty small leak here, will the shaving cream work on a small leak? What do you look for? I would imagine it just creates a little void or a tunnel in the foam at the site of the leak, is that right?

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    The spray foam cream is best. You want it very light and airy so it is easily sucked into the leak. Yes, it just starts vanishing around the area of the leak, often quite a bit goes away and it is very obvious, though that depends on how rapid the leak is. However, the whole process is more of a mess than the garden hose method.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    OK, I decided to try the shaving cream method. I covered every possible source of an air leak between the pump and the ground. I applied it at about 9:30 am and it's now been about half an hour with no leaks evident. I'll check it again at 11:00 am and if nothing shows I'll leave it all day if the shaving cream holds up. If this test ends up being negative I guess I'll have to pressure test my lines.



    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    Are you doing this test with the pool cleaner at 2200 RPM or normal circulation at 1500 RPM and do you know which configuration contributes more to the air?

    If you don't find a leak on the pad, it could be the cleaner which is adding air. My poolcleaner 2x sometimes will climb out of the pool and suck in a bunch of air. Just a random thought.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    Are you doing this test with the pool cleaner at 2200 RPM or normal circulation at 1500 RPM and do you know which configuration contributes more to the air?
    Both - the pump runs from 9am to 11am at 2200 and from 11am till 8pm at 1500. It appears to accumulate air fairly steadily at both speeds.

    If you don't find a leak on the pad, it could be the cleaner which is adding air. My poolcleaner 2x sometimes will climb out of the pool and suck in a bunch of air. Just a random thought.
    The 4x Pool Cleaner only runs from 9 to 11. The only time I've had a problem with the cleaner climbing the wall and sucking air is when the Jandy valve is open all the way which makes the wheels turn about 15 rpm. I have it set to run at about 11-12 rpm pretty consistently.

    It's been almost 2 hours and I just checked everything. I can't see any evidence of a leak yet. The water level in the pump is already down to the top of the strainer basket. I'll check it again later this afternoon.

    Curiouser and curiouser.......

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    Did you check the drain plugs on the pump?
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Hayward EcoStar - Air in Filter Basket

    Yeah, I took them both out the other day when I had the pump disconnected. I cleaned them both off thoroughly and lubed them up good with pool lube and reinstalled them.

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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